The interview with Yildirim Özden which began as a conversation about Tolerance’s business
On April 13, at the annual International Real Estate Exhibition, which was held in Tishinka Trade and Exhibition Complex in Moscow (Russia), the head of The Mellows business community, Svetlana Ponomareva, talked to Yildirim Özden, co-owner and CEO of Tolerance-Homes.
The interview, which began as a conversation about Tolerance’s business values and its management’s philosophy, grew into a warm and friendly chat with a serious philosophical basis, to take note of which it would be advisable for any service company owner and manager. And of course, it is important that this conversation be heard by Tolerance’s customers (and future ones too).
― Mr. Özden, the number of clients who in recent years buy real property in Turkey is increasing every year. Do you think anything changes in your country because of this?
― No. We do not teach, but learn from each other. Foreigners in Turkey are more comfortable than anywhere else. It seems to me that it is easy to talk to us, we are open to any forms of dialogue, cooperation and friendship, we are ready for any suggestions, we are receptive to new ideas.
Business projects carried out jointly by the Turks and the foreigners are almost always successful.
Among the factors of success I would place even the time proximity of our countries. For example ― flight from Moscow to one of our resorts takes no more than two hours. I know, sometimes you spend more time in Moscow's traffic jams to get to the office! Thus, to do business with Turkish partners, negotiate and enter into agreements with them it is as easy as with Russian companies based in Moscow.
In general, foreigners are truly comfortable in Turkey! And our real estate is a great way of accumulating capital. What does all this tell us? That there is the global economic cooperation between countries. And it, in turn, spurs the cultural exchange.
― Are there any stereotypes that hinder the development of your business?
― Of course, there are myths and misconceptions that seriously hinder our work. First of all it concerns the infrastructure of the resorts and the cultural situation in the country on the whole.
For example, many foreigners are afraid that, after moving to Turkey, they will be separated from that life, including the cultural and entertainment life, which they so like in theirs countries and which they are so much accustomed to.
They fear that the entire rest in Turkey is reduced to the entertainment programs of some of our hotels. We need to conduct a large-scale information campaign that would clearly demonstrate to our guests from all of the world all the possibilities of holidays in Turkey!
In fact, Antalya has its own legendary opera theatre, which is open most of the calendar year. Tickets for any of our wonderful productions, by the way, can be easily bought anywhere in the world. We also have an annual jazz festival. It attracts musicians who, before that, the public could see in New York, Paris and Milan.
Once people have lived in their house or their apartment for at least a few weeks, they will begin to learn Turkey from an entirely different side. After a while, they will truly love our country and will relate, interrupting each other, about their life to their friends and acquaintances!
― How does purchasing apartments in Turkey affect your clients?
― I am familiar with a theory that people who live in the south, near the sea, constantly get the energy from the sun, water, sea air, and therefore they can spend it freely. That is why they are so open. And people from the north, who are deprived of these benefits, are closed just because they are forced to save their internal energy.
In this regard, it is assumed that a person changes from a change of residence. However, everyday, year after year, watching all those who become our friends and neighbors in Turkey, I understand: if a person is truly open to the world and wants to become happy ― all is in his hands, and the geography has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Although, of course, in a sense, people do change after buying real estate in Turkey. They discover our country for themselves and really accept its traditions and culture. Some changes occur in the lifestyle, but the habits, the character ― all this remains, because a human being always remains himself or herself.
As regards us, we ourselves behave alike both before we sell apartments, and after that! As we regarded each of our guests ― with joy and respect ― so we continue to regard them. This is the philosophy of our business, its foundation and its essence. Having sold housing, we do not cease to communicate with our clients and show interest in their affairs. And clients remain tied to us forever.
Three-four families, of those who have already bought housing from us, visit our office as guests every day. They come with their questions: domestic ones, legal ones, those related to the settlement of their daily lives. Sometimes just to talk. After-sale service is the most important thing for the creation of a truly human touch, and it is this that is developed at a particularly high level in Tolerance. For us it is extremely important to not lose contact with our customers. Never.
― What, in your opinion, is the difference of Tolerance from other companies offering housing in Turkey?
― The name of our company ― Tolerance ― speaks for itself. Tolerance is a word that has a universal meaning. Worldwide. In this word we put all the values that we have in our business. Tolerance as a special approach to people and to building their unique, similar to nothing else, happiness. It's worth a lot. If there is no life in your business, you aren’t going to be able to do anything. Without a sincere human approach there is no development. Trust and responsibility for your promises ― that's the basis of our business. One correct, truthful word may become the basis for friendship, business, and (or) partnership with those who today just contacted us with a question about buying an apartment. I would not even call Tolerance a business, because in this wonderful occupation for us, and for me in particular, there is much more of a way of life than of business. I want to believe that it is we, Tolerance, not in the least, who help people become happy.